July 14, 2008

Mountain View, California: Xanh; restaurant review

Xanh  110 Castro St./W. Evelyn Ave., (650) 964-1888. L M-F; D daily; $$. Reservations advised.

Portions of the modern Vietnamese cuisine served here are large, and the presentations are spectacular. Signature dishes include the Deuce Roll (a mix of pork and shrimp), the Xanh Salad and Shaking Beef (dishes taste similar, but salad is huge and dramatic), Fighting Prawns, and any of the housemade noodle dishes. Desserts include a hazelnut mousse (delivered atop a charming tall, thin-stemmed glass plate with dome cover) and Menage a Trois (a delicious Vietnamese classic that mixes tapioca, sweet yellow mung beans, and coconut milk) desserts. Intriguing cocktails with catchy names seem to go particularly well with the cuisine. The restaurant is expansive, with three sleek interior dining rooms (one is a cool, very loud glass box punctuated with stainless-steel bead curtains), a street-side outdoor area in good weather, and a bar that sometimes has a DJ or live music (it also has a dramatic stone wall over which water cascades gently).

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